I’ve noticed that my hands have been less stable over the last few months, and so I decided to ask some of our Instagram followers for recommendations and advice on how I might be able to strengthen my hands. I received a lot of sound advise in response to that article, and I figured it would be beneficial to share it with everyone. Each account name has a link to their Instagram profile, so make sure to check them out!
How do I keep my hands down when riding?
REDUCE THE SIZE OF THOSE REINS
You have to be quite aware of it and rigorous with yourself… but beginning with a shorter rein can assist. My mare takes advantage of me and will startle if the touch is not consistent. If Coco escapes the frame, even with the shorter reins, simply maintain your attention on your line and ride forward with a more steady contact. At first, it will feel strange, but practice makes perfect!
Reduce the length of the reins and raise your hands upward and forward. Encourage her to follow your lead and elevate her body little farther forward. Additionally, check to see whether she is truly responding to your leg and bending her body around it. Because the hands are only used for minor flexion adjustments, they should stay silent for the most of the time. If she pops off the bit, use your leg to reintroduce her and avoid using your hands unless she is really preoccupied. It helps maintain a stable frame in the long run but is extremely harmful in the short term.
EVERYTHING IS CONTAINED WITHIN THE ELBOW
Reduce the length of the reins and position your hands slightly in front of you, allowing the elbow to expand and close naturally while rising and sitting.
Elbows that are flexible – if your elbows are rigid, there is no give and your hands will not move with the horse. It’s something that develops as your core becomes stronger.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE LOWER LEG
To enhance your flat work, you should begin with your seat and lower leg, as movement in the hands and upper body is frequently the result of lower leg instability. I propose starting by lowering your stirrups a hole or two and working on leg extension since you have space to go there for a really attractive appearance and you need to strengthen your lower leg rather than relying on your heels to deliver stabbing pressure on and off. It will be difficult at first and you will feel a little unstable, but you will develop lower leg strength and a more stable position. Take additional breaks if necessary, but try to maintain your leg and think about straight lines connecting your thumb to wrist to elbow and shoulders to hips to ankles.
HANDY (excuse the pun) TIPS
Holding a whip horizontally between two thumbs worked for me! Keep your thumbs on the reins and your elbows at your side, while maintaining an equal touch on both reins. Utilize the contact made by the leg.
One of the things I learnt is how to open and close my elbows – I had no idea you were supposed to do that! One of the lunge exercises I’ve been doing is threading my tiny fingers through a loop (threaded through the saddle’s d rings) in trot. It provides an indication of the amount of opening and shutting your elbows must accomplish to maintain your hands stationary.
Additionally, you may attempt these methods, such as holding a cup of scalding tea in each hand, and you will almost certainly avoid moving your hands. Alternatively, you might use fuzzy handcuffs.